This National Volunteer Week, we’d be remiss if we did not recognize and thank our amazing volunteers for the energy and passion they bring each time they give their time to The Pantry. Did you know that The Pantry only has two paid staff members? With each volunteer hour being valued at $23 by the Independent Sector, we could not keep The Pantry doors open without all of you.
Our volunteers help us in so many different ways. From seamlessly checking in our neighbors and taking them shopping through the pantry, to restocking the shelves and hosting food and personal care drives, to picking up donations from our partners around town- our volunteers are truly the heartbeat of our organization!
Reasons for volunteering are different for everyone, yet the aim is still the same- to help the community in which they live. Some are called to action because they have a deep connection to their community, or because they believe is social justice and health equity. Some have even walked in the shoes of our neighbors, and want to help others on their journey. Though the motivation of our volunteers may differ, their hearts work together for a healthier, hunger free Kent County.
Do you want to get involved? We are always looking for help during pantry hours. We’re also searching for enthusiastic folks to to serve on our committees. If you have a group looking for a night of service, we’d love to put you to work! Email Yoli, our Pantry Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our volunteer opportunities. We’ll help you find the right fit!
A great way to get to know us better is just around the corner. Join our team at the 40th Annual Access Hunger Walk on Sunday, May 7 – we’re looking for more people to walk with The Pantry team! Learn more and sign up here: http://thepantry.gr/40th-annual-hunger-walk/ #HungerWalkGR
Again, a big thank you to The Pantry volunteers who make our programs, services, and change in the community possible! Also, a big thank you to everyone who donates their time to help those around them.
You are the heart, you are the change!
We’ve tried a couple of different things over the years: container gardening and community gardening in particular. This year we are going to ‘let the professionals’ handle it. Container gardens will continue to be part of our offerings here, but we are taking a hiatus from the Community Garden as the CSA are more cost-effective.
This spring we will be working directly with Hope Farms (a ministry of Bethlehem Christian Refugee Services). Their CSA Farm hires recently resettled refugees to work on their 5 acre farm, producing quality, weekly produce shares to be sold in the community. The partnership, works for both Hope Farms and The Pantry in a number of ways. Read full post
When The Pantry hired a very part-time social worker in the summer of 2014, believe it or not, there were friends and donors who questioned the need for such a person here. I think, most people have accepted the idea by now, but it is important to articulate why case management is so important. When we brought Stephanie Cuerrier, a health enthusiast and MSW (Master of Social Work) to join our staff, she came to implement our NOW (Nutritional Options for Wellness) program, which has been going gangbusters every since. Additionally, we tasked Stephanie with the broad work of ‘Referrals and Case Management’. Read full post
Wednesday around noon, I had a young woman, not more than 30, come into The Pantry for help. She came with a friend. She lost her job a few months ago, had ‘pounded the pavement’ as the say every day since without success. Her husband abandoned her and the kids, 3 of them, when the house was foreclosed on last month. She and her 3 kids are staying with the friend that brought her. That friend has 4 kids of her own. They were worried what they were going to provide these kids for Thanksgiving. They came into The Pantry for the first time, ashamed and anxious about what they’d find here. After getting her information entered into the database and talking with her about some of the other opportunities in the area she might benefit from using, she went to shop with one of our volunteers. I saw her leaving later, both she and her friend each pushing a full cart of food. As the door was closing, she must have seen that I was smiling at that sight. She left her cart, turned around and ran back in side. She was crying and smiling and I was a little confused at first. Then she threw her arms wide and gave me a warm hug with several whispered thank yous. Some days its easy to remember why I am here.